From Fred Itua, Abuja
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Tuesday presented a Certificate of Return to Senator-elect Stephen Odey, the winner of Saturday’s Cross River North Senatorial District by-election.
The presentation was made by INEC Director, Media, Festus Okoye, at INEC headquarters in Calabar, Cross River State.
Meanwhile, Senator-elect Odey, in a thank you message, appreciated the people of his senatorial district for voting for him. He described their action as patriotic and foresightedness.
His statement reads:
‘I sincerely thank God Almighty for the overwhelming victory at the poll. In a very special way, my unalloyed thanks and appreciation goes to His Excellency, Senator Prof. Ben Ayade KSJI, the Digital Governor of Cross River State, for finding me worthy to serve God and humanity.
‘I also sincerely thank Prince Uche Secondus, the National Chairman of our great party, the PDP and members of the National Working Committee (NWC).
‘Again, I wish to specially thank the Chairman of my Campaign Council Rt Hon Legor Idagbo, DG Campaign Council Chief Peter Ojie, Barrister Alphonsus Ogar Eba, the incoming State Chairman of our great party, Chief Tony Udiandeye, Hon John Ulafor and many others too numerous to mention for their unflinching supports towards the attainment of this collective mandate.
‘May I specifically appreciate the Deputy Governor, His Excellency Professor Ivara Ejemut Esu, the speaker C’River State House of Assembly Rt Hon Eteng Jones, former speaker Rt Hon John Gaul Lebo, all the commissioners and members of the Cross River State executive council for standing by me through to victory.
‘I also thank the Independent National Electoral Commission for providing the requisite conducive ambience for the conduct of a peaceful, transparent, credible, free and fair bye-election in C’River North Senatorial District. This transparent process led to our Victory in the poll whereby I, the PDP candidate, coasted to victory with 129,207 votes to defeat my closest opponent, Joe Agi (SAN), who scored only 19,165 votes.
‘The victory would not have been possible without the input of our teeming supporters, the electorates and party men and women, who overwhelmingly voted for me and the PDP. I thank you all for your kind support and show of love. This is our victory and we will always win together, again and again.
‘I thank my opponents immensely for the spirit of sportsmanship and for accepting the outcome of the bye-election. May I use this medium to call on all my opponents to sheath their swords and join hands with me to take Cross River North Senatorial District to an enviable height. God bless you all.’